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  • Douglas B-23 Dragon Medium Bomber / Maritime Patrol Platform / Crew Trainer

    Fewer then forty of the Douglas B-23 Dragon bombers were furnished by Douglas Aircraft Company to the United States Army Air Corps prior to World War 2.

     Updated: 5/12/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The lead-up to World War 2 for the United States saw a period of constant progression for its bomber force. Founded in 1921, the Douglas Aircraft Company was already a common manufacturing brand seen in large American aircraft. The Douglas B-18 "Bolo" medium bomber was one of the primary types taken into service during the 1930s. Introduced in 1936, three-hundred fifty were produced and served with the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), the Canadian Air Force, and the Brazilian Air Force. It held origins in the Douglas DC-2 transport of 1934.

    From the B-18's basic design, the company began work on a more refined version under the "XB-22" prototype designation. This aircraft was proposed with 2 x Wright R-2600-3 series "Twin Cyclone" radial piston engines of 1,600 horsepower each and, from this, emerged a USAAC contract order for 38 aircraft. These replaced an order for thirty eight examples originally intended as B-18A bombers from Douglas.

    The new bomber was designated B-23 "Dragon" in service and carried the Wright engine pairing in nacelles buried along the wing leading edges, each engine driving three-bladed propeller units. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted along the fuselage sides and the fuselage being well-tapered from nose to tail. The nose section was glazed over for optimal viewing by the bombardier/navigator while the cockpit was stepped. The aircraft was crewed by six personnel. The undercarriage was of a "tail dragger" configuration and retractable with the main legs recessing into the engine nacelles at each wing.

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    Douglas B-23 Dragon Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1939
    Type: Medium Bomber / Maritime Patrol Platform / Crew Trainer
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Douglas Aircraft Company - USA
    Production Total: 38

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 6
    Length: 58.40 feet (17.8 meters)
    Width: 91.99 feet (28.04 meters)
    Height: 18.37 feet (5.60 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 19,092 lb (8,660 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 32,408 lb (14,700 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Wright R-2600-3 radial piston engines developing 1,600 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 283 mph (455 kph; 246 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,401 miles (2,255 km)
    Service Ceiling: 31,611 feet (9,635 meters; 5.99 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 1,500 feet-per-minute (457 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    3 x 0.30 caliber machine guns
    1 x 0.50 caliber machine gun at tail position

    Up to 2,000lb of conventional drop stores held in an internal bomb bay.

    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    B-23 - Base Series Designation; definitive production model; 38 examples completed.

    C-67 - Utility transport model converted from B-23 airframes; 12 examples completed.

    UC-67 - Redesignation of C-67 aircraft from 1943 onward.